Touring Cape Agulhas & The Winelands…..

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March 16 – March 20th, 2013 (Eastern Hemisphere)
As Cape Agulhas held special meaning (along with the Cape of Good Hope), for Cindy and me, I felt a personal visit would be in order.  When Alexandra and I rounded the Cape (which IS the very bottom of the African Continent), it was around 4 a.m. and we were 25 miles offshore in big winds and seas.  We did however “see” the light and I played “Lighthouse” on my IPOD while on watch.
Nikki and I drove to Cape Agulhas, which was about a 3 1/2 hour drive.  We saw the famous lighthouse (which is being restored)  and went to the Shipwreck museum in the nearby town of Bredasdorp.  See:
Here we learned first hand how since the year 1678, over 2000 ships have been lost along this coast.  It makes this one of the densest areas in the world for ship wrecks.  Many went down with cargos of spices and slaves, many with LOTS of gold.
Cape Agulhas Light House…….
Cape Aguhlas Light
Similar to when Sandrine, Anja and I “stood on both sides of the world” in Fiji, Nikki and I had the opportunity to do the same between the official line showing the beginning and end of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans……
Indian & Atlantic Oceans Aguhlas
“Aguhlas” in Portugese means Needle.  The name comes from the unique phenomenon that a magnetic compass (no one still knows why exactly), will point true north in the vicinity of the Cape of Needles.  The reason this is so unusual is that a magnetic compass on either side of the Cape points 25 degrees to the west of True North.  It’s the only area that this occurs in all of Africa.
We of course played “Lighthouse” on the IPOD in the car and I took a moment to reflect on how far I’d come; still deeply feeling the loss of Cindy at this juncture that was so special to us……
We stayed the night at a nice B&B in Arniston and departed the next day for the small town in the Little Karoo mountains known as Ladismith.
Near Ladismith, we’d been given the recommendation by Dave and Kathie of “Sunflower” to stay at the Mymering Guest House.  See:
Here we met Andy and Penny Hillock.  Andy is a retired General Surgeon from Port Elizabeth.  Penny and he bought the property and make Hillock Wines.  Andy  has two large standard poodles named, Moet and Chandon as well as another big guy whose name escapes me. Penny has a cute purse dog and her Aunt was visiting from Port Elizabeth with her cute puppy.  (You can tell Andy’s favorite champagne!).  We had a lovely time with them sharing stories at dinner in a very intimate setting.  We were only two of four guests at the time and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, the lovely room and fabulous views of the locally famous, “Towerkop’ peak.
Local legend has it, that a witch was trying to fly over the Little Karoo and she was stopped by a wizard.  She was so upset at him that she broke the mountain in two as she returned.
My favorite story of Andy’s was that he began and ended his career as a surgeon stitching up two guys who were bitten by Great White Sharks off Port Elizabeth.
Towerkop Peak………..

One of our highlights at the Mymering Guest House (aside from his lovely wines!), was Andy’s daily 90 minute hike.  It keeps us all young, but in Andy’s case, you’d never know that was even necessary.

The dogs, all five of them, came along for the trek.

Mymering Guest House Hike – Andy, Scott and Nikki………
Andy Scott Nikki
Our visit to Mymering was a “must” and a highlight of our trip.  The food, company and rooms were top notch!
Once we left Mymering, we drove to Franschoek which is the “haute centre” of the South African Wine Region. Located immediately next to the well known Stellenbosch, this was the area where the French Protestant Huguenots emigrated to and helped spark the South African wine industry.
A tremendous French influence of the Huguenots is felt everywhere in Franschoek including the Huguenot Museum and Monument.
The highlight for us was the wine making tour given by the owner of Le Petite Ferme B&B and Vinyards, John Dendy Young.
Franschoek Wine Tour at Le Petite Ferme. John Dendy Young with a “Wine Thief” which he used to give all of us a sample of their lovely wines…………………

John - Le Petite Ferme

The B&B here was fabulous, a huge bathroom with free standing tub, heated floors and towel racks; a magnificent view of the Franschoek Valley reminiscent of the wine country of France.

We bought six bottles of their lovely wines and have enjoyed each and every one.
With a quick stop in Stellenbosch, where Nikki bought some lovely cloth to make into nice throw pillows, we were back in Cape Town by dark.
It was a great tasty tour (quite literally) of the South African Wine Region and some new friends and great characters at every stop.
Next….a bit more touring in Cape Town, preparation and departure from the V&A Marina……
Scott and Nikki




Simon’s Town to Cape Town…..

March 15th, 2013 (Eastern Hemisphere)

It was time to finally move the boat the 50 mile trip from Simon’s Town in False Bay to Cape Town. By car, this trip takes about 35 minutes as it’s only about 17 miles. But by boat, we had to go 15 miles south to get around Cape Point/Cape of Good Hope before heading north to Table Bay.

We had a decent weather window and decided on a very early departure as to not get to Cape Town too late in the day.

The sun rose as we rounded Cape Point – Cape of Good Hope and we played “Lighthouse” in honor of Cindy. The song is by James Taylor and if you’ve never heard it, it’s sweet and worth the listen. It was one of our all time favorites and spoke much to the way we felt about coming more than half way round the world…… There are over 2000 known ship wrecks along the coast from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth. A distance of only a few hundred miles.

Cape Point Lighthouse – South Africa. Just before Sunrise………



Table Mountain from the South…….  You can see the Cable Car station at the top left of the mountain. It’s the little blip on the end of Table Mountain….. A spectacular site from the sea.



This photo was taken from the V&A “Eye” A modern ferrous wheel at the Mall……”Beach House” is behind the green building



A tradition of the old sailing ships was to give those who had never seen Table Mountain from the sea a small gold coin on their first viewing. Nikki and I had learned that from reading James Michener’s “The Covenant” (THE definitive book on the history of South Africa and we highly recommend it). Nikki’s Gift upon our arrival……



Some of you might think it looks like Chanukah Gelt!….:-)

The trip was easy enough, our new auto pilot worked well and we were docked right next to Dave and Kathie Blanding on “Sunflower”…. One more side trip of the area and the real work begins to get off the dock and toward the Caribbean! Next, the Wine Region tour and Cape Agulhas……

Stay tuned, Scott and Nikki

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe…….

March 9th – 11th, 2013 (Eastern Hemisphere)

Well we had such a good time in Namibia (and yet a bit of time before we would be off to Cape Town with the boat), so Nikki suggested we fly to Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe/Zambia border. This waterfall made famous by the one and only Dr. Stanley Livingstone. (As in…..”I presume”). It is about 800 meters wide along the Zimbabwe/Zambian border and is on the Zambezi River.

Livingston was the first westerner to see the Falls when on a “mission” to darkest Africa. It was quickly decided that we would go to the Zimbabwe side as the Zambian side (where the actual small hamlet of Livingston is) requires a Yellow Fever (World Health Card) to get back in to South Africa. Yellow Fever itself is not contagious amongst humans, it is mosquito born. But as South Africa is in a “near endemic” area, they wouldn’t know if they were having an epidemic or if someone had contracted it while out of the country. Hence, we opted for the town of Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe side. Ironically, it is believed that Livingston died of Malaria and Yellow Fever some years after he introduced this natural wonder to the Western world.

The view is really from the Zimbabwe side looking toward Zambia. Victoria Falls……..




The main falls were running so hard, we could barely photograph them. The ideal month is September/October. Running then “hard enough”, but not so as to make it RAIN constantly.



It was a quick turnaround type trip as we would soon be moving the boat from Simon’s Town to Cape Town, but it was well worth the flight. While we were there, we had an opportunity to go on an Elephant Ride! This was one of the highlights of the trip. It’s a reserve where rescue elephants are brought too and believe it or not, a few years ago, a male bull elephant brought an abandoned baby into the camp and promptly disappeared. It was feared the Mother had died and the Male somehow knew the baby would be taken care of here.

This is “Janet” with Scott, Nikki and our Guide……



We had a very large Cheetah come near our group and Janet became somewhat ferocious as her baby was with us. Interesting experience to be on the back of an Elephant that might charge at any moment! Our guide had things well in hand…..we think? At the end of the experience, we got to feed the elephants by hand and that was a treat for both them and us. I will add lots more photos when I get to the Photo Galleries, but at least here you can get a feel for the experience.


Scott and Nikki (next – Simon’s Town to Cape Town)…….